Curriculum Guide · Courses
Racial Discrimination in International Law
J.D. Practicum 1111 | 3 credit hours
This practicum focuses on the work of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), of which Professor Vázquez is a member. The Committee monitors compliance with the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Students in the practicum will work individually and in teams to investigate the situation of the minority groups protected by the Convention in the specific countries being scrutinized by CERD in its February 2014 session. In the fall semester of 2013, the countries to be considered will include the United States of America, so the practicum will examine the problem of racial discrimination in the US as well as in other countries. Students will examine the report submitted to the CERD by the relevant country, as well as “shadow reports” submitted by non-governmental organizations and the relevant reports of the U.N. Human Rights Council and other relevant human rights treaty bodies. In addition, students will identify and interview persons with expertise in the countries being scrutinized. The persons to be interviewed would include academics, government officials (such as persons from the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Bureau), and non-governmental organizations that specialize in human rights, particularly those that focus on the country being scrutinized. On the basis of their documentary research and interviews, the students will then write their own "shadow report" concerning the situation of the minority groups within the relevant country. Student will, in addition, present their work to the class through a simulation of their countries’ presentation of their reports to CERD. In these simulations, the student(s) who wrote the shadow report on that country will play the role of that country’s delegation to CERD, presenting its report to the Committee, and the other students in the practicum will play the role of Committee Members, questioning the members of the delegation on their compliance with the Convention. Students will also have the opportunity (but are not required) to attend the CERD session in Geneva at which their country presents its report to CERD. The Law Center will subsidize some of the cost of travel and lodging.
Prerequisites: Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective). Highly recommended: International Law I; International Human Rights; Constitutional Law II.
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.
This is a 3 credit course. 2 credits will be awarded for the 2-hour weekly seminar and 1 credit will be awarded for approximately 5 hours of supervised work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. The seminar and fieldwork will be graded.